Brand voice

By Anders Björklund

Brand voice

A clearly defined brand voice creates a strong direction for all communications. Learn how to define your brand voice and download the guide on how to build brand loyalty.

Your company's tone of voice must reflect your brand if you want to be successful online. You also need to align how you express yourself online with how you communicate offline. That will help you build brand loyalty over time, and unify the customer experience regardless of which company touchpoint customers chose to interact with. 

What is brand voice?

Brand voice is the selection of words, values and the attitude of your company brand used when addressing the target audience or other stakeholders. It is how a brand conveys its brand personality to the external audience.

To be successful, your tone of voice needs to reflect your brand. Having an online brand voice that jars with your image will put potential and existing customers off and confuse them about who you are, what you do, and what you offer.

When developing your online activities, you must ensure that your communication is aligned with your existing brand and consistently demonstrates your brand values.

Identify brand values

If you are unsure about your set of brand values, this is an excellent way to start as it will give you the possibility to create the foundation from which to develop and design everything going forward.

First, establish your brand values by going through every brand value that you think reflects your company.

Your next step is to order the importance of the different values and to pick three at most. If you go with more, the voice becomes too diluted. Also, most people (males in particular) only tend to remember three things at most.

Lots of companies select values such as passionate, honest and trusted. Never use such values - these are not values; they are fundamentals to any business and should be integrated with everything you do. The values you select must reflect your brand and what you stand for that sets you apart from others.

Make meaningful brand values

Once you have decided your brand values, consider how they align with your policies, people, products, services, processes, culture, and way of working. What do the brand values look like in practice and is the leadership living them, and consistently fulfilling them?

If customer satisfaction is an objective, do you treat your customers precisely like you would want to be treated, are you delivering the best you can, and how can your online activities support your customers? 

Have you set a time limit for responding to questions and support requests? How openly will you deal with complaints, and how transparent are you?

Once your brand values have been identified, you will be able to link all of your communication back to one of them. Stay stringent and focused; you can't be all things to all people.

Identify target demographics

You need relevant information about your target demographic from customer service and sales, but if you don't have this, then consider whom your company's brand is speaking to. Do you specifically target potential and existing customers?

Getting as much detail about your target group as possible will give you insights into what they are challenged by, and what they need. If you have the what's and how's to solve those needs and challenges, you will pique their interest, and your online content must match that interest to maximise the level of engagement you hope for.

Develop the brand personality

How do you want your brand to be perceived? How do you want people to describe their interaction with your brand? 

The defined brand personality will allow you to speak to your target audience with a clear and understandable voice, and it will demonstrate values and interests that match your target group. Give your brand personality the depth and character that you will need to engage well.

To live by your brand

When you have identified the brand personality, make sure that you share it with anyone involved in communication at your company. Usually, there are several individuals involved in creating content and activities for your target personas, so making sure these are aligned is critical.

Your brand shall be the foundation for all activities and communications moving forward, and allow you to create a cohesive brand voice to manage the expectations of your potential and existing customers. Ultimately, it can become a training tool for team members, guiding them to become familiar with everything about your brand.

Remember that the brand will need to be updated as it evolves. Planning reviews of the "brand bible" ensures that you stay on top of how your brand is changing.

Final thoughts on brand voice

Without follow up and guidance, you usually end up with several voices talking at once, this will confuse your audience and weaken your brand.

A one-pager is all that is needed to outline the main elements of your brand personality; you have made the brand personality too complicated if your colleagues need to scroll to understand. 

A clearly defined brand voice and personality creates a strong direction for all communications and allows you to quickly identify which activities to prioritise and which are genuinely related to the brand. It also helps you to avoid missing the mark or annoying your audience with irrelevance.

I hope you found this article relevant and on-brand.

Read more about brand loyalty and download the PowerPoint with nine effective ways to build brand loyalty. 

How to build brand loyalty

Do you want to find out more about branding? Read our in-depth branding guide to learn more about the what, why, when and how of branding.

Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B.
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